The Critics Choice Association Women’s Committee is pleased to announce the third round of recipients of the newly launched Seal of Female Empowerment in Entertainment. Called the “SOFEE,” the Seal recognizes outstanding new films and television series that illuminate the female experience and perspective through authentically told female-driven stories.
The newest titles earning the SOFEE are:
Feature Film: “Causeway” (A24 and Apple TV+)
Feature Film: “She Said” (Universal)
Documentary: “Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me” (Apple TV+)
Starring and produced by Jennifer Lawrence, “Causeway” is an intimate portrait of a soldier struggling to adjust to her life after returning home to New Orleans.
“It’s a tremendous honor for the film to receive this recognition from the Critics Choice Association’s Women’s Committee,” said “Causeway” director Lila Neugebauer. “I’m sending enduring gratitude to the remarkable team who worked tenaciously to bring this movie to fruition.”
“She Said” recounts the tenacity of New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor as they expose decades of institutional sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood, and the system built around protecting abusers. Their dedicated reporting led to the #MeToo movement and created meaningful change in how women are treated in and outside the workplace. “She Said” is led by an incredible group of female filmmakers in front of and behind the camera, including director Maria Schrader and screenwriter Rebecca Lenkiewicz, and is based on The New York Times investigation by Jodi Kantor, Megan Twohey and Rebecca Corbett and The New York Times bestseller, She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. The film is produced by Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner for Plan B Entertainment and is executive produced by Brad Pitt and Lila Yacoub and by Megan Ellison and Sue Naegle for Annapurna Pictures.
‘“She Said” is more than a film, it’s a public record. Filmed so close to the actual events, it’s a visual synopsis that can be revisited in 100 years to show audiences how women ‘jumped together’ to stop a predator, and a predatory system,” said Tara McNamara, Chair of the CCA Women’s Committee. “The drama is exceptional for featuring fully realized female characters who reflect expressions of gender that are rarely seen in film.”
Both “She Said” and “Causeway” received a perfect score in the numerical formula that is used to determine if new titles, which are nominated by CCA Women’s Committee members, are eligible for a SOFEE. Qualifying projects will have a prominent female character arc, give female characters at least equal screen time to male characters, have female leaders behind the scenes, and pass elements highlighted in the Bechdel test. To be considered, new film and television releases must possess an artistic and storytelling value and exceptionality, and score at least 7 out of a possible 10 points in the SOFEE rubric, which can be found at CriticsChoice.com. There are no limits or quotas governing the number of SOFEE seals the CCA may grant.
In the documentary category, “Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me” follows the singer-actress for six years as she opens up to reveal her struggles with anxiety, depression, Lupus, and bipolar disorder. Through her bravery in sharing her diagnoses, and as one of the first internationally known public figures to do so in this way, Gomez finds purpose in her effort to destigmatize mental illness and demonstrates to viewers that those struggling with their mental health are not alone. Directed and co-written by Alek Keshishian, the film clearly expresses Gomez’s voice and point-of-view.
“Our desire is that female writers and directors are given more opportunities to tell women’s stories, however, at this moment, more than 80 percent of working directors are men,” said McNamara. “‘Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me’ is a fantastic example of male filmmakers collaborating with a female subject to tell her unique experience with honesty and accuracy.”
The Seal of Female Empowerment in Entertainment is issued by the CCA Women’s Committee. Members include Tara McNamara (Chair), Hillary Atkin, Semira Ben-Amor, Christina Birro, Lauren Bradshaw, TJ Callahan, Natasha Gargiulo, Toni Gonzales, Teri Hart, Laura Hurley, Susan Kamyab, Louisa Moore, Gayl Murphy, Mary Murphy, Patricia Puentes, Christina Radish, Amanda Salas, Rachel Smith, Sammi Turano, and Lynn Venhaus, as well as CCA board member Paulette Cohn.
About the Critics Choice Association (CCA)
The Critics Choice Association is the largest critics organization in the United States and Canada, representing more than 580 media critics and entertainment journalists. It was established in 2019 with the formal merger of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association, recognizing the intersection between film, television, and streaming content. For more information, visit: www.CriticsChoice.com.
Lynn Venhaus has had a continuous byline in St. Louis metro region publications since 1978. She is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, currently reviews films for Webster-Kirkwood Times and KTRS Radio, covers entertainment for PopLifeSTL.com and co-hosts podcast PopLifeSTL.com…Presents, and writes features and news for Belleville News-Democrat and contributes to other publications. She is a member of CCA, AWFJ and St. Louis Film Critics Association. She is a founding member of the St. Louis Theater Circle.